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Why I Became a Minimalist

The journey began in 2017, after losing a family member to Cancer.

A few months after their passing, we were clearing out their home filled with 30 plus years of memories. Memorabilia stacked on shelves, papers & trinkets spilling out of drawers, photographs hung on every inch of the walls. Possessions of all kinds being sold, donated or even trashed. It got me thinking, “If you can’t leave with any of your physical items, what makes them so important? You see, in my eyes I find the moments you share & relationships you have with others are far more valuable than any form of materialism.

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Ok, now I’m not saying because I devalue materialism that I live in an empty apartment, sleep on the floor and not own a damn thing. On the contrary, I i enjoy many of my possessions. Ive just simply learned to live with less & have downplayed their importance.

See, the idea of minimalism to me is not necessarily living with x amount of items, or painting your walls white, & only wearing neutral colors. It’s more so living intentionally. You see, it’s time to prioritize your life. The idea of stuff can easily consume your life to the point of no return. And it’s not just those physical items that can bog you down too. Look at every aspect of your life – the things you own, your career path, the people you’re spending time with…all of which are important. Why spend your life with unnecessary possessions, a career that’s not going anywhere, or people you can’t stand.

Simplify your life.

“Make room for things that matter by removing everything that doesn’t” – Brian Gardner

After being on this journey for a few years now, I can say living with less has given me more clarity & helped me focus on moments instead of things. I can’t tell you how overwhelmed I used to feel when items ruled my life. I used to be an avid therapy shopper. Instead of dealing with my emotions or certain obstacles, I would mend those feelings by purchasing new clothing or makeup products [I can expand on that a bit later]. Bottom line is, going on this “less is more” journey has made me feel so much happier in my life. I live in the moment more. I have better relationships with family, friends, and loved ones. I have an overall sense of gratitude for life.

Dazzling Blogging Award

Thank you, Chocoviv, for nominating me on this first Dazzling Blogger Award! I am currently at the beach with my boyfriend this week. So, this nomination arrived at the perfect time since I had no other posts scheduled for this week.

The Official Rules

  1. Thank the person who nominated you for The Dazzling Blogger Award.
  2. Link back to the original blog post.
  3. Answer the seven questions that they asked on their blog post.
  4. Make up seven new questions.
  5. Nominate seven more people for The Dazzling Blogger Award, who you think exemplifies excellent blogging skills.

The 7 Question

What is one life lesson that you learned during the Covid-19 pandemic?

I’ve learned so many things during this period of time. In general, it has been a time of reflection & striving to be a better person in the future. I actually talked about how the pandemic boosted my confidence in a recent blog post. Click here to read that 👉🏻 How I Boosted My Confidence During A Pandemic Year

What was the catalyst for you wanting to start blogging?

The pandemic was definitely the catalyst to starting this journey with blogging. If it weren’t for the pandemic & losing my job, Id be exactly where I was a few years ago. And honestly, I was pretty unhappy at said job so everything worked out in the end. ☀️

What are seven things that you hope to accomplish within the next five years?

In 5 years I’ll be turning 35 so…

continue on this blogging journey & potentially make this into a paid jig.

be married & have a cute little family. I want two children & a fur baby as well.

possibly living by the beach in a single family home because both our jobs are remote.

travel a lot more as a couple & a family possibly out of the country

Learn to be minimalist as a mother & with a family as it probably will be rather different then just relying on myself

possibly go back to get training in marketing or social media to expand on my own brand

meet some of the other bloggers I’ve befriended who are from other parts of the world 😊💕

What book or movie has been life changing for you?

Most recently, Soul was pretty empowering as an animated film. Reflecting on my life purpose & being intentional is so my brand.

What advice would you give to any new blogger?

Be authentically yourself. Although you may have a niche & want to write for your audience, you also have to write for yourself. Have balance.

What are seven of your favorite things?

my family, my close friends, my future hubby 😊💕, my orange tabby, the beach, going to breweries, & watching new shows or movies 🎥

In seven words or less, tell me what your blog is about.

less is more ✌🏻

This was so fun & something I don’t do as often anymore. But it was fun answering your questions & just being more casual for this week’s post. Here are my questions & nominees

1. What made you start blogging?

2. How has the pandemic changed your life? And are you happy about it?

3. How do you live more intentionally?

4. What’s a habit you’d like to break?

5. What are you looking forward to this summer?

6. What shows / movies have you watched lately?

7. Do you have any goals for your blog? What are they?

I nominate these seven bloggers:

Korra Shay

AllThingsGee

Brianna Stryker Writes

Dianna of Inspiring Positivity

Ian Wier

Arpan Das

Julia of Happier Freelancing

-B

Places That Spark Joy in Maryland According to a Marylander [Collaboration]

This post is in collaboration with quite a few other bloggers in the community. I will have all of them listed at the end of the post, so be sure to check out their blogs as well as their collaborated post. We wanted to showcase a few places we love in our areas to provide travel inspiration to our readers. I don’t know about you, but ever since the pandemic hit, I’ve had the itch to travel so badly & I can’t wait until I can finally do so once I’m fully vaccinated. Along with this, as a blogger, one of the best parts is connecting with creators all around the world. We wanted to use this opportunity to share more about ourselves & connect more with our readers.

This is the first time I’ve been the most open about myself (the writer of Mind Beauty Simplicity) but if you are unaware, I am writing from the East Coast of the United States, specifically the state of Maryland. As a Marylander, I love steamed crabs, say the word “crown” instead of crayon & Old Bay seasoning runs through my veins. In today’s blog post I will be sharing with you a few hot spots I love to venture to in my area & hopefully inspire you to visit good old “little America” in the future. Let’s get into it, hon! 

So, the reason Maryland is known as “little America” is because we have EVERYTHING from mountains, to lakes, to beaches & to city life all wrapped up in such a small state. And with that, I feel like I could share so many cool places with you, but I’m only going to give you my top 3 in no particular order.

SEACRETS of OCEAN CITY, MD 

My boyfriend & I spend most of our summers in Ocean City / Delaware. And when I was in college & (before the pandemic honestly), I loved going to Secrets Bar & Grill / Night Club. It sits bayside & is one of the biggest party destinations in the area. Djs & local bands perform most weekends & for people watching, it is quite the site. Just FYI, if you venture out to the bayside bar, be questionable about the water quality. But honestly, a few pain in the ass drinks in & you won’t notice a thing when walking through it. During the day, be sure to check out Seacret’s Distillery for tours & discounted drinks. International readers may even be able to order some online. 

GUNPOWDER FALLS, MONKTON 

During the height of quarantine, my boyfriend & I were becoming rather creative when it came to date nights / weekend activities. And when the weather broke, we discovered river tubing at a local park. Gunpowder Falls runs through Maryland & parts of Virginia I believe. It’s a great way to venture into nature & get fresh air. We ordered tubes off of Amazon because we plan to go even more this summer. It’s a fun activity with friends & we even bring a few snacks & beverages for the 2 mile lazy river ride. You can also hit up this area for regular hiking & sightseeing. There are tons of cool waterfalls & views to see during your walk. 

HISTORIC ELLICOTT CITY 

This little town has been through quite a bit the last few years. Two floods ravaged the area as it is built directly above a river. I know…poor construction decision. But this area has a huge place in my heart as it is a landmark of my hometown. It was actually featured in Gordon Ramsey’s show where they help a few small businesses reinvent themselves after the devastating floods. Unfortunately, a pandemic hit a few months after airing. Some of my favorite restaurants / small businesses of this area include The Phoenix, La Palapas & Sweet Elizabeth Jane which sells clothing & other cute accessories. I will have their links at the end of the post so you can check out & support them if you wish. Basically this area is filled with tons of small businesses & eateries & just has this cute small town vibe. One of my favorite memories is going there during the Halloween season, getting lunch & seeing all the families trick or treat. They also do ghost tours since the area is quite haunted. Let me know if you’d like me to share some of those stories closer to Halloween on the blog.

Historic Ellicott City – A Pleasant Surprise! – Old Town Crier

– B

Be sure to check out all of these wonderful bloggers & leave a comment on their collab post. I absolutely adore all of these content creators & am grateful to have connected with them all through this community.

Simply Alex Jean

Alice Almeida

The Nutmeg Diaries

AllThingsGeexo

Envirolineblog

Thecurlysunshine

Diana Inspiring PositivityBloglife Erica

Faerie Lifestyle

Examine This Moment

Headphones Thoughts

Jessica Lasa

Korra Shay

Life Begins At Twenty

Growing With Spawn

Riyah Speaks Blogs

Sophia Patel

The Yorkshire Dreamer

Along Came Rosie

Victoria St. Michael

It’s Brit Life

How To Find Happiness Through Someone Else’s Shoes

Nothing inspires me more than a person who has gone through hell & back & STILL manages to find the light within all the darkness. I’d like to say I try to remain happy go lucky despite life’s obstacles. And with that, I try to surround myself with individuals who do the same. Throughout my blogging journey so far, I’ve connected with tons of other bloggers in the community. But no one stands out quite like this particular person I’ll be talking about today. Amy of Delicate & Brutal is the epitome of living with the glass half full. For someone who has foregone not one but two medical diagnoses & an allergy based cell disorder & STILL finds the humor through it all is truly remarkable. I’d like to say I’m that strong – but I’m not so sure.

I’ve been thinking about the concept of happiness & how a person is to maintain said mindset. With the year we’ve all had, I’m sure we all are on thin ice. But it’s also remarkable to think some people’s lives were just as hard even before the pandemic. I hope in some ways we’ve learned the idea of not truly knowing a person’s fate until you walk in their shoes. I know for myself, I have greater respect for us & all we do just to endure such situations. That’s why I wanted to have a conversation with Amy & walk a little bit in her shoes.

SOME BACK STORY:

If you aren’t following Amy & her story on her blog, first of all… (what are you doing?) & second, I wanted to give a little back story. Amy lives with a life threatening allergy to a chemical called mercaptobenzothiazole, which is found in a wide range of common items such as medical gloves, rubber bands, garden hoses, tires, glue & earphones to name just a few. Contact to such items can cause blistering rashes, difficulty breathing, & the swelling of tongue & throat. Swelling can become so severe that she has needed to be intubated & put on a ventilator.

If that wasn’t enough, Amy also lives with two rare conditions – a mast cell disorder & a rare disease called Hereditary angioedema (HAE). If you are unfamiliar with medical terminology, mast cells are cells that are found in the body’s tissue apart of the immune system. They release a chemical called histamine when recognizing foreign cells such as allergens. With the mast cell disorder, the release of histamine is ongoing despite usual treatments. For Amy, this means her allergic reactions are life threatening & need multiple rounds of antihistamine. “I carry around Epipens with me at all times.” HAE, despite its name, is not necessarily genetic. “Hereditary angioedema is caused by a defect in a protein called complement in my body. It causes swelling in my face, tongue, throat, and belly. Episodes of swelling can be triggered by infection, illness, trauma, stress, or hormonal changes; when I have an HAE attack, I self administer treatment through an IV at home.”

She discovered such allergic reaction from wearing gloves at work in 2007 & repeated exposure to chemicals caused an anaphylactic reaction in 2018. “I had no idea how widespread this chemical was until my allergist gave me a list. After a few more anaphylactic reactions over the following couple of years to wasp stings and MRI contrast dye, I was diagnosed with a mast cell disorder in October 2019. In January 2020 I was also diagnosed with HAE after being intubated twice for tongue and throat swelling not due to allergic reactions.”

Now, when I heard this backstory in more detail, my jaw dropped. And I had to know what went through her mind when she found all of this out. “My initial reaction was relief that we had answers. Now that we knew what the conditions were, we could better formulate a treatment plan and lifestyle changes going forward. If I’m keeping it real, I do have intermittent moments of crying and frustration when I feel my limitations.”

OVERCOMING THE NEGATIVITY

Having the right support system is what really keeps us all moving forward even during the most difficult times & lifestyle changes. The same goes for Amy. Her biggest support has been her husband G & her closest friends. “He (G) has seen me at my worst with vomit on my hospital gown while bucking and gagging with a breathing tube down my throat. G advocates for me when I am unable to do so for myself. He is my rock. The group of people he goes running with have also been a huge support to both of us. When G missed out on running a marathon because I was in the ICU, they all stepped in to find ways to help and support both of us. I get emotional just thinking about how much they support us and I haven’t even met any of them yet.

And some of the best forms of medicine is a good laughing session. “I have always had a wicked sense of humor and can laugh at my weirdo self for hours. Especially if I cut a loud funny fart. But my attitude really started to shift once I accepted my life with these medical conditions.” And of course, acceptance is such a powerful realization when going through forced change such as this.

SHARING HER STORY WITH THE WORLD

Like a lot of us in this creative space, Amy blogs to share her story. “I have always been told that the events in my life could fill a book or become a TV show.” As something that could be seen as a distraction to the reality of life, Amy doesn’t see it this way. “I don’t typically do things to distract myself from life. I believe in handling situations head on. I express my feelings in the present moment. No matter how uncomfortable they may be. For me, distracting myself would only delay the inevitable need to deal with something. I think the longer you put something off, the harder it is to work through. Ain’t nobody got time for that!” But also, Amy is a humble queen & doesn’t see herself as an inspirational figure. “I put my underwear on one leg at a time just like everyone else.”

ADVICE TO THOSE WHO ARE STRUGGLING

“If you can’t change the situation, find a way to accept it. It’s perfectly normal to feel upset and need to vent about it. Lord knows I have done my fair share of venting and cussing about my situation at different times. But once I vocalize my feelings and process them, I’m good. I don’t let them fester. Chronic complaining doesn’t fix anything.”

FINDING HAPPINESS IN THE SIMPLE

I know from my experience, once I focused on the simple pleasures in life, it is easier to smile through the pain. And if you need a boost of encouragement, be like Amy. “[I look forward to] eating breakfast, taking a hot shower, seeing our orchids bloom, listening to our cats zoom around like a herd of buffalo, watching them rabbit kick their favorite catnip toys, and checking things off my to do list.”

I’d like to thank Amy for allowing me to interview her & share this perspective to my readers. If you want to learn more about her story & read more humous thoughts, be sure to check our her blog, Delicate & Brutal.

And to my readers, what makes you happy?

-B

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